Monthly Archives: February 2012

The raven paradox

If you think you understand what’s meant by scientific evidence then this little piece of logic — first pointed out by the philosopher Carl Hempel in 1945 — should give you food for thought.

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Quotation for the week: Tolstoy

One of the recurring themes in Lev Tolstoy’s War and Peace is the nature of historical cause and effect. Tolstoy was convinced that to properly understand history we should turn our attention away from kings and generals and instead seek … Continue reading

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Write for us!

Degree of Freedom is looking for contributors. It doesn’t matter whether you think of yourself as a professional mathematician, a student or an amateur — if you have something mathematical, statistical or maths- and stats-related that you’d like to share, please get … Continue reading

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Problems from the GRE

To be accepted in a US University for a Ph.D. in Mathematics program, a student must pass two Graduate Record Examinations (GREs), a general one that checks literacy and quickness of wits, and a professional one in mathematics. The Mathematics … Continue reading

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Tipping the scales: some of the mathematics behind music

If you look at a piano keyboard, you’ll see that the keys are arranged in a repeating pattern, and those of you who play an instrument will recognise the unit of repetition as the octave. A chromatic scale gets from … Continue reading

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Event: “What are Universities For?”

There’s an event in the upcoming Aye Write book festival that might be relevant to readers of this blog. Professor Stefan Collini will be promoting his new book, What are Universities For?, by holding a discussion with Iain MacWhirter. Professor … Continue reading

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Quotations for the week: Erdős

Paul Erdős has been mentioned before on this blog, but there’s no harm in a little repetition. Here are two quotations which between them suggest something of his personality. The first is something of a personal creed: Why are numbers beautiful? It’s … Continue reading

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